The Others Way 2023 – Various K Road Venues: December 1, 2023 (Pt.2)

The Others Way returned and we were there! This year’s festival was so big we had two 13th Floor reporters there to cover all the action.

This is how our man Simon Coffey saw things:

It was rather unfortunate that The Other’s Way faced a muddled weekend, in the past it has always been a cert sell out. But this year, with Kraftwerk and Lloyd Cole performing elsewhere on the same night, add Dimmer and War On Drugs shows on Saturday, and as The Valentine Brothers originally sang Money’s Too Tight {To Mention} in the current climate, a sell-out was a tough call, especially without the always (expected) reformation of a notable local act.

Minisnap is a side project of Kaye Woodward of The Bats fame, she usually enlists fellow Bats, Paul and Malcolm, and (ex-Undercurrents) Marcus Winstanley) to create a kind of jangle punk sound. Minisnap has existed in various forms since the early 2000s and has released an album, 2 CD EPs and a 7” single.

Seeing them play in Tamaki Makaurau is a rare treat. They are already playing as I pull myself away from Herbs into the Galatos and they are already nearing the end of their first song (which goes all pete tong and ends cheerily) Kaye is upfront and the twin guitars are creating a raucous jangle, their third song has that punk energised jangle reminiscent of The Stones and The Great Unwashed. It’s a divine feeling, like I’m in a southern student pub in ‘82 watching history, I have to dash off mid-set, but I manage to pop my head in for their last song and the room has filled nicely.

We can hear duo Elliot Finn on drums and vocals and (silent) Vincent Cherry on guitar aka Elliot & Vincent as we arrive just as they start their third to last song. In the intervening months since I last saw the opening for Ringlets, they have tightened up, sound clearer and punchier. Comparisons to The White Stripes are facile, think more like The Kills and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Vincent still has those boots, while Elliot’s vocals have grown husky, sweet, and bell-like, similar to PJ Harvey and Joni Mitchell. Their last song comes quickly, it is a dark, heavy gothic drawl, with incessant drumming.

Food! While waiting for Trinity Roots, we indulged in one of the many food trucks outside Galatos. The Rolling Pin Dumplings truck took our fancy. BEST-EVER prawn dumplings! Keep an eye out for them in your neighbourhood.

I was out-route from the impressive Trinity Roots and was attracted by the raw punk rock sounds coming from The Underground. Late To Chelsea is performing in a room full of young folk (the Trinity Roots crowd felt like a gathering of the liberal aged) They are totally punk, high energy, loud, it is reminiscent of the punk gigs of the 1980s held in suburban community halls. Late To Chelsea was fun, but The Underground was far too hot (it is an old bank vault) for this overdressed eldster punk, and anyway they didn’t sell beer. 

I arrive early to Motte as these weary bones want a seat and prime spot for enjoying Lyttelton luminary Anita Clark. The last time I saw her, she was opening for classical post-punk artist Agnes Obel. Her album Cold and Liquid was a stand-out local release last year with its layered, delicate, sparse and at times unsettling soundscapes. Unlike last time, she has full keyboards, laptop and theremin to accompany guitar and violin. Dressed in red satin, with a video screen in the background, Motte began in a sparsely populated room that exponentially filled as she constructed soundscapes that discovered voids between people.

It is a juxtaposition to everything seen tonight. Gentle, relaxing, enveloping. The music has beauty, the energy is in the simplicity of the layers Motte creates. Her synthesising of technology and violin, and the energy created surpasses many other live acts at The Other’s Way tonight. I left to go see another act but turned back halfway, the return to Motte was the right decision and I experienced her end her show with Halloween, a piano, violin and theremin crescendo.

I manage to squeeze in seeing Melanie in between Motte and Dick Move. Their sound is hardcore, tuneful, very much in the USA punk vein. Last seen opening for The Bleeders, the shaggy-haired vaping bassist has had a haircut (or been fired), I’m disappointed. It’s loud and energised and the passionate crowd digs it. Melanie’s new song (perhaps one of many) has a Husker Du feel to it, and on cue kids with skateboards arrive, and then get thrown out for having no wristband. So punk rock!

The room is rammed. The Crowd is amped. Tamaki Makaurau punk rockers Dick Move is already onstage, actually, they are waiting for one of their guitarists to make it through the crowd. Their twin-guitar, high-energy sound punches into the intimate space, as they race through their set, their singer is once again on fire. Rampage is the apex theme song. Smiles blaze in the room. Cheers fill the short spaces between songs. Dick Move is on fire tonight. Come Down is so fast it’s like hearing Bad Brains play Pay To Cum for the first time. They should’ve been in a bigger room!

Iranian-NZ rapper CHAII caught my ear with her 2020 debut EP Lightswitch, so an opportunity to see her live was not to be missed (particularly since she is focussed on the overseas market), and it allowed me to go to a venue I’d never been to before, Raynham Park, it all seemed to dovetail.

Once again, we arrived as CHAII was already on stage performing, I hadn’t known what to expect, a backing track and vocals? But no, it was a full four-piece band accompanying her (many familiar faces from the local scene): synths, pad-drums, guitar, saxophone, clarinet and even a Keytar which is a portmanteau of keyboard and guitar.

CHAII blends funk, electro beats, hip-hop and Mona Sanei’s kiwi-iranian heritage. She commands the room, with her presence onstage, and her confident chatting and call-outs to the crowd. The show had a mesmerising groove, as her band members blended the beats, the rapping, the clarinet, the saxophone, and the astounding expertise of guitar handling (who is that guy?) If you weren’t in the room, you missed something spectacular, CHAII’s star is certain to rise.

Simon Coffey

Simon Coffey